Feature

‘Air sex’ takes the U.S. stage

Why a Japanese import mixing air guitar and public sex is making a splash across America

Maybe it’s the economy, or spring fever, but “there’s a whole lot of humping going on these days,” said James Montgomery in MTV online. “Air sex,” a competitive air-guitar-like spectacle, has real judges and real rules—no nudity, no real orgasm. And, once just an Austin pastime, it's going national, with “a 16-city tour designed to seek out the greatest Air Sexer in the world.”

Austin may have brought Air Sex to our shores, said Sean O’Neal in Decider Chicago (includes video), but it really started, “as so many perverted things do, with the Japanese.” Austinite Tim League saw a viral YouTube video of some men “making sweet love to invisible partners” in Japan, and "Air Guitar’s dirty, smutty cousin” was born. To do well in the contest, dress up, come up with and commit to a narrative, and choose good music.

At least at the Washington, D.C., show, the audience was “professional and straight-laced,” said Lindsay O’Neal in Double X (includes video), not necessarily what you’d expect for a “theatrical sexual performance.” But hey, as someone “extremely reserved when it comes to sex,” I was there, too, “with a front row ticket to some serious PDS (public displays of sex), and loving it.” That doesn’t mean, however, that “I’ll be pleasuring a vaporous lover on a stage any time soon.”

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